It could be that people experience traumatic situations and just deal with it better or have better support systems or do not focus as much on the loss and have a positive view of the potential opportunity for a restart. They are blessed with self-confidence or self-assurance or favor or popularity and they are able to portray themselves as resilient while others believe they are resilient, therefore becoming resilient.
I think at baseline I have seasonal depression. I think I’ve disliked the season between Christmas through my birthday for a long time. I don’t like the cold, I don’t like the darkness; I’m vitamin D deficient. Rest finds a way to elude me in the winter.
I think I cope fairly well, some years I have done better than others usually because of diet, exercise and healthy practices of devotion and time spent in the presence of God. Those 3 things seems to be key for me. I usually can tell if those things are doing me good by how much I write and what I write.
Then there are events and circumstances that take maybe an underlying malaise or depression and turn the feeling of depression up to volume 10 where practical wisdom seems to fail and advice begins to feel like a wooden plank slammed against my body or mind.
Contained in this episode comes the inability to think clearly or even at all, the process for decision making becomes seemingly impossible, weight loss and gain happens, usually the gain makes me feel worse; I forget where I park every morning. I walk out my door and have no idea what direction to walk in. My body feels achy, I want to sleep constantly. I think about dying often feeling hopeless and empty and when enough energy exists, I get mad at God for what feels like a curse or for not preventing traumatic events from happening whether I contributed to the cause or not. And then on occasion this version of myself that feels like me and is the one without depression will rear its head and say, “it will pass, just keep going.” And then there is a date in mind. There becomes a day on the calendar where maybe it will pass by then, maybe by Easter, maybe by the summer, maybe by the end of the year. And somewhere it usually does break seemingly without any reason.
Maybe the pain subsides, maybe balance is restored, maybe I have rested enough or thought about other things, maybe I found a way to feel forgiven and less ashamed of what happened that caused me to be caught up in a bit of rejection and hurt.
But I will be honest, it rarely feels like the effort of God reaching in. I beg and plead for some measure of redemption, restitution, reconciliation and hope and rarely it comes. Usually I’m left to change what I hope for and move on.
Very rarely if at all do the people who cause or contribute to your burden lift a finger to help take it off of you. There is some measure that exists even among those that say they will help, that actually pile a heavier burden on to you and then get defensive when you let them know they’ve added to the burden and then their hurt feelings also become part of your burden. Avoid those people. Jesus tells us to. He rebukes those that claim to point people to a path to salvation but don’t lift a finger to help them get there.
Depression is a lonely journey. So few people have the patience to deal with it that don’t have it. And lots of the people who do have it have all the patience in the world because they have no other choice unless they completely give up. Even people who look like they outwardly have given up probably to a certain degree have not given up; they are just so lost in the fog of their own mind or coping mechanisms that they haven’t been able to string enough good decisions together to get themselves out.
I do think that sometimes God reaches in. I don’t know what moves Him. I also don’t know what moves others in Him. But I know He does. I have seen that. I have seen the care of others, the care of roommates who check in and observe my habits and disposition, who get me out of the house, who encourage. I think this is God reaching even if it feels less miraculous than we would like.
I would like God to lift it, take all the sludge away at once so I can move and live and have clarity of mind to do the right thing at the right time in the right way and leave behind those that have persistently wronged or neglected my heart.
But there is also a cry for justice, that those who have wronged or neglected my heart would be judged or brought to repentance by God for their actions; that they would not be able to walk through life weightless because of the burden they have afflicted on others, that their repentance would require of them a change of heart and of mind and would change their bent to acknowledge the pain they’ve caused and right those wrongs and love in deed.
They might never. And thats why the little wooden Hobby Lobby-esque plaque on the shelf at my therapists office says, “Forgive them, even if they are not sorry” which feels like a step further than “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Who knows, maybe it’s all the same?
Maybe they are not sorry because they don’t know what they did; maybe they are sorry and know exactly what they did and wish they didn’t do it but will do nothing to change it. Maybe they know what they did and intend to change it but just get persistently busy and put it off because it feels like too hard of work and they can’t tolerate people being upset with them so they just prefer not to know or face what they’ve done. Or maybe they just don’t care at all and are happy that they did what they did and don’t feel like they’ve made you feel bad enough.
I don’t think any of the above make much of a difference for the outcome of feeling depressed after a traumatic event that continues without a resolution. I don’t think withholding forgiveness helps, but I also think something desperately tries to hold onto us. We don’t want to risk being shattered by someone or something. So we put up guards that prevent us from experiencing further damage before we take steps to let go and forgive the wound that still feels present.
I do think a lot can be fixed through genuine reconciliation and restitution but people professing to be Christians often don’t like reconciliation and certainly don’t like restitution. People prefer to be forgiven without having to change or make up for what they have done. I do think the process of genuine love in reconciliation and restitution comes with a far greater reward and story, but it is not without work and follow through or in other words humility.
I think rarely a major depressive episode just springs up out of nowhere, sometimes its hearing news of your brother dying in Europe in World War II, sometimes its the loss of someone else you love, sometimes it’s abuse, sure it can sometimes be chemical imbalance, but whatever the cause, maybe it would do everyone well to judge the cause and the person struggling less and lean in and love more with some listening, with some presence, and with the patience that it probably will last longer than everyone would like but could probably be lessened if we don’t try to fix someone too soon.
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